Thailand embraces a rich diversity of cultures and traditions. With its proud history and tropical climate, the kingdom is a never ending source to awaken to the mystical world within your own being. Thai Buddhism – the religion, culture and spiritualism is what makes the country peaceful, relaxing place it is known to be. Buddhism is about controlling behavior, cultivating the mind, developing compassion and being content and at peace with ourselves, all through acceptance. Meditation and visiting temples is at the heart of Thai life. From holy caves and Buddhist temples to sacred mountains, traditional healers and other spiritual masters. Amazing surprises, smiling faces and peaceful places await you and will create unforgettable memories.
Theravada Buddhism, a school that claims direct lineage back to the Buddha himself. It emphasizes wise reflection, meditation and the belief that one of the main causes of human suffering is craving, or the desire to amass wealth.
Vipassana, which means “to see things as they really are”, is one of India’s most ancient techniques of meditation.
Day 1: ARRIVE BANGKOK
Upon arrival at Suvarnabhumi Airport, meet and transfer to the hotel.
Day 2 : BANGKOK & THAI MASSAGE
This morning, visit the Grand Palace, Bangkok’s most famous landmark and the kings’ former residence. Several buildings are located within the complex. You will see the Reception Palace, Funeral Palace, Throne Hall and the beautiful, revered Temple of the Emerald Buddha. Afternoon indulge in a traditional Thai Massage (2 hours). Return back and overnight at HOTEL B
DAY 3 – EXPERIENCE THAI CULTURE & LIFE
After breakfast, begin your experience of Thai Culture & life by travelling on local train. Enjoy the stunning countryside, fishing villages, farms and more from the comfort of your seat. Get your camera ready for jaw dropping sights, move to the back of the last carriage to get a great view, some photos or video, of the stall owners lowering their awnings and returning their produce onto the tracks, within seconds of the train passing. While from the front of the train you can watch vendors removing produce and folding awnings barely minutes before the train approaches. Next tour the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. Tour takes you to the most popular floating market in Thailand. Hop onto a decorated long-tail boat and glide down the narrow canals hunting for exotic fruit and vegetable deals. Peek at the small houses on stilts that line the shore and discover Thailand’s traditional peaceful lifestyle contrasted to the hectic buzz of the river market. Pick up a few souvenirs and take stunning pictures of the winding waterways a one-of-a-kind Bangkok experience. On your way back to Bangkok, visit Phra Pathom Chedi is the country’s oldest and largest Buddhist pagoda, 127m high. This chedi marks the first centre of Buddhist learning in the kingdom, which started about one thousand years ago. The monastery also houses a museum containing many Dhavaravadee artefacts. Rest f the day is at leisure. HOTEL – B
Day 4: BANGKOK- SPIRITUAL TOUR, VIPASSANA MEDITATION & LEARNING
Buddhists in Thailand pay homage at the temple or wat as they believe it is a way to make merit. Visit some of the important scared temples this morning, Visit some of the important sacred temples this morning; Wat Traimit with the Golden Buddha Image, and Wat Pho with the Reclining Buddha Statue. In the afternoon visit Vipassana meditation center to learn and practice meditation: The Wat Mahathat is home to a well known Vipassana meditation center. Thai as well as foreign students practice Vipassana meditation, also known as “insight meditation”. This meditation method aims at gaining insight into the true nature of things and the realization of all things being temporary and nothing existing indefinitely. Vipassana meditation concentrates on the process of breathing while trying to dispel thoughts. HOTEL – B
DAY 5: BANGKOK – AYUTTHAYA/ PHITSANULOK & SUKHOTHAI
After breakfast, you will travel overland to Sukhothai. Enroute visit Ayutthaya Historical Park. Ayutthaya, the Siamese capital from 1350 until 1767. Visit Bang Pa-In, the former summer palace of Thai kings. Witness rural Thai lifestyles enroute to Phitsanulok. Visit Wat Mahathat and its highly revered Buddha statue, Phra Buddha Jinaraj. Continue to Sukhothai, a small city in lower Northern Thailand, most famous for the ruins of the ancient city Sukhothai. The name translates as “the dawn of happiness”. Sukhothai was the first kingdom of Siam established some 800 years ago. The exact year is unknown but according to the Fine Arts Office it was between 1238 and 1257. HOTEL – B
DAY 6: SUKHOTHAI/CHIANG RAI
After breakfast, check-out of the hotel and proceed on a tour of Sukhothai Historical Park, the first capital of Siam. On completion of your tour, travel overland to Chiang Rai, roughly a 3 to 4 hours drive. Enroute visit Wat Lampang Luang. On arrival, you will be transferred to the hotel. Chiang Rai was for a long time isolated from most of Thailand. Such isolation afforded the province its unique culture. HOTEL – B
Day 7: CHIANG RAI TOURING
After breakfast, visit the beautiful Wat Phra Keo, where one of Thailand’s most important Buddha statues was discovered in 1444. The statue had been moved by various state rulers to be placed in their respective capitals as a symbol of dominance, including Lampang, Chiang Rai and Vientiane, before finally being enshrined in Bangkok’s Wat Phra Keo during the reign of King Rama I. Then visit the Rai Mae Fha Luang, a museum exhibiting ancient artifacts as well as exhibits on royal activities by the late Princess Mother at Doi Tung. Afterward visit Wat Ruang Khun (White Temple) and the local market. HOTEL – B
DAY 8: CHIANG RAI/CHIANG MAI
After breakfast, travel overland to Chiang Mai via Thaton visiting Akha hill tribe village and village of Karen Long-necked hilltribe. On arrival at Chiang Mai, you will be transferred to the hotel. Chiang Mai means “new city” and was so named because it was the new capital, founded in 1296, succeeding Chiang Rai (founded 1262) in the capital of the Lanna kingdom. This evening watch a traditional northern dance performance Khantoke dinner. HOTEL – BD
DAY 9: CHIANG MAI – City tour & Bicycle village tour
Today, visit Doi Suthep. Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep is a Buddhist temple, often referred to as “Doi Suthep”. This is actually the name of the mountain it is located on. The original founding of the temple remains a legend and there are a few varied versions. The temple is said to have been founded in 1383 when the first chedi was built. Over time the temple has expanded and been made to look more extravagant with many more holy shrines added to it.
Biking tour through the southern part of Chiang Mai known as “Colors of Chiang Mai” biking tour. The route is through country roads, passing by the former capital of Lanna; visit temples and ruins dating back hundreds of years. Next visit a Chinese temple; the McKean rehabilitation center; a special school for monks. Meet with the monks in training and learn about their life in school and monastery . At the village market explore the small traditional shops and opportunity to sample some of the most delicious and exotic fruits and other snacks. Water or a soft drink is provided during 4 hr ride with ample stops and sampling Thai meal (Kao Soy Kai) in a local restaurant. HOTEL- B
Note: Bicycles used are all imported US design- 24 speeds, front suspension, and all terrain comfort bikes. Note: The visit to the school is subject to school schedule.
DAY 10 – CHIANG MAI – Cooking class
Thai Cooking Class includes introduction to Thai Spices, making Thai Curry Paste, tour of the Local Market, shopping at the Market and Vegetable Carving. Begin with a shopping at the local market, an introduction to Thai ingredients followed by cooking 4 dishes. Each dish will be demonstrated by Chef Sompon or qualified instructors in English. Participants will then cook each dish themselves with the assistance from expert staff including written instructions. Enjoy the dishes for lunch before returning back to Hotel. HOTEL- BL
DAY 11 CHIANG MAI – BANGKOK
Time free until transfer to Chiang Mai Airport for flight to Bangkok. On arrival proceed to Wat Phra Dhammakaya temple. Meet with an English speaking Monk and learn about Dhammakaya meditation tradition. After visit and meditation transfer to Hotel where rest of your day is free.
Dhammakaya is a source of peace, wisdom and true happiness, exists in all human beings and can be attained through the process of self-refinement and self-purification.
Dhammakaya Meditation Technique was rediscovered by Luang Pu Wat Paknam, the late Abbot of Wat Paknam. With his great work of meditation, he found that the station of stillness or the gateway of The Middle Way is at “The Center of the Body” around two-finger width above the navel. And the center of the body is the best point that any meditation practitioner should lay the mind down upon Dhammakaya Meditation Technique. The technique is simple but effective. Just keep your body and mind relaxed and maintain your attention slightly at the center of the body. Once you touch or feel the station of stillness at the center of your body, you will experience inner peace, true happiness and the transforming power that Dhammakaya Meditation can provide for every aspect of your life. Although Dhammakaya Meditation was developed as a technique by the Lord Buddha, its practice is not limited to Buddhists. The practice has nothing to do with any organized religion or sectarianism. For this reason, it can be freely practiced by everyone without conflict due to race, creed or religion. People from many religious backgrounds have experienced the benefits of Dhammakaya Meditation and have found no conflict with their profession of faith.
DAY 12: DEPART BANGKOK
Time free until transfer to airport for your international flight. OR extend your stay for a beach Holiday in Thailand or Tour of Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar.